What if I told you that the only person who truly limits you is yourself? I bet a lot of readers would say, “That is ridiculous.” But are they being honest with themselves? I think that too often the very thing that is limiting us is ourselves.
You are capable of more than you think. And you already have proof of this, but have you noticed it? And if you did notice it, did you accept that was the result of your efforts or did you ascribe it to luck?
At some point in your life, you have surprised yourself by accomplishing something that seemed well beyond your abilities. Think back on it for a moment. Was that incident as much of a fluke as you thought it was?
The very thing that limits us is ourselves.
As I said earlier, too often, the very thing that’s limiting us is ourselves. We tend to play it safe, doing the same things over and over that we know we’re good at without trying to push beyond. After all, trying new things is scary.
I recall many years ago learning to ski. The Austrian Alps were imposing so I booked half-day lessons for the first three days of my ski break.
I had skied before in Canada, but that was on a hill with a drag lift. Nothing like the mountains in the Alps with their cable cars.
My morning in ski school arrived, and the instructor was great. Patient and encouraging, he helped every student improve in a few hours.
The afternoon was for freeskiing. To go out and put what you had learned into practice. And did I?
Olympics here I come.
The feeling of your skis running over the crisp snow was magical, and the sensation of speed was intoxicating. I loved it. And I could proudly say that I navigated a blue run without falling. Olympics here I come.
The next morning we all gathered for our second session of ski school. The instructor told us to raise our hands if we went skiing after our class yesterday. Everyone’s hand went up.
He then asked, keep your hand up if you fell down at least once on every single run. The hands stayed up except for four people, mine was one of the four.
We look at each other with smug satisfaction, expecting to be the class heroes.
If you are not falling, then you are not learning.
The words, “If you are not falling, then you are not learning.” felt like a slap on the face. Surely the object was not to fall, or had I missed something?
It made sense.
Playing it safe and repeating the same lazy turns over and over again to traverse the slope would dramatically reduce the likelihood of falling. But it was not trying new things and was not helping to improve your skiing.
Push your limits.
The key to becoming a better skier was to push your limits. And that meant the chance of falling increased.
The morning lesson carried on, and he adopted his usual patient and encouraging approach.
The next morning he asked the same two questions. This time everyone, including me, kept our hands raised. We were all proud to have fallen at least once on each run. That meant we were pushing beyond our current boundaries, and it also means our boundaries will expand.
Let’s make a decision. The decision that today is going to be different. Today we’re going to do something bold and daring.
Today, you’re going to push past our limitations.
And here is how:
1. Tell yourself, “I am going to do this.”
The moment you say those magic words, whatever you’re pushing yourself to do becomes possible in your mind. It’s when you tell yourself that you can’t do something you’re doomed to failure.
On the other hand, a robust can-do attitude will help you to act with boldness until you can start feeling it as well. The important thing is to take action. Many times we delay starting because we lack the confidence or we are waiting for conditions to be perfect.
We will never have enough confidence or perfect conditions. Start now with what you have.
2. Find someone who knows what you’re going through.
Tapping into someone else’s experience is one of the most powerful things you can do to help you realize your goals. A mentor whose boldness you admire has the wisdom to help you get where you want to go.
As a bonus, they also become that encourager who will give you that solid kick in the arse when you need it. And that accountability partner keeping you on your goals and milestones.
3. What’s the plan?
You’re never going to be able to push yourself to your highest limits without a solid list of mini-goals and milestones to get you there. Bold actions require a roadmap sometimes!
This is not a suggestion to develop the perfect plan before you take action. It is better to have a decent plan and take action and refine the plan than to spend all your time on the plan and take no action.
4. Keep a record.
By journaling and writing down every day’s successes, you have something tangible that you can go back and review to see where you’ve been and how much you’ve accomplished. This record becomes inspiration and motivation.
It provides a needed reminder of all those times when you acted with boldness in the past. If we did it once, then surely we can do it again.
5. Challenge yourself.
If you’re even slightly competitive by nature, then use that to your advantage. Set challenges for yourself. Make a bet that you can do something by a specific date and then push yourself to achieve it or over-achieve it.
When you achieve your milestones and goals consistently, you show yourself what a winner you are. Never be afraid to challenge yourself.
To go beyond your limits and achieve your dreams, you need to press on boldly. Daring to cover new ground and challenge every limitation.
Don’t stop until you get to where you want to be. You can do this!